Girl talk: Get to know people and racing is more fun.

 Courtney Force, Funny Car

NORWALK, Ohio – The first National Hot Rod Association race of the 2013 season opens the sport to new fans on Valentines’ Day weekend at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Sure, the man in your life may be intrigued by horsepower, wheel diameter and torque, but find his copy of the National Dragster Fan Guide, a precious resource for information about people in the sport.

Or check out a sample copy of National Dragster online at www.nationaldragster.net. Also, on the NHRA.com Website under store.nhra.com/shop-by-department/books/ an NHRA 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Fan Guide costs $5.

And now is a great time to get acquainted with the people in the NHRA, who make drag racing so much fun!Brittany Force, Top Fuel dragster.

Let’s bring this closer to home: Who taught you how to drive? How did it go?

This weekend Brittany Force launched her rookie season driving a Top Fuel dragster at more than 300 mph, covering the track in less than four seconds.

Her sister and best friend, Courtney Force, won NHRA Rookie of the Year in 2012 driving a Funny Car like their dad, 15-time Funny Car World Champion John Force.

By Saturday night, Courtney Force qualified number 1 for the Championship Sunday race of the best 16 drivers in Funny Cars; John Force qualified 11th; Brittany Force, 15th in Top Fuel. But don’t count anybody out. Anything can happen in drag racing.

Blake Alexander and John Force.Pleased with her placement, Courtney Force said she’s focusing on the work of driving straight and true on Sunday.

The girls say their dad gives advice as they head for the staging lanes.

Perhaps a puff of dust at the end of the dragstrip could be a reason for his concern.

Eight-time Top Fuel World Champion Tony Schumacher, who also qualified number 1 for the 72nd time in his career, drove a great run that ended in a sand pit because a parachute did not stop the dragster properly.

Dads know these things.

Tony Schumacher expected damage, but the crew cleaned the dragster and it worked great the next time down the track. Tony Schumacher’s top spot run in his U.S. Army dragster lasted 3.753 seconds at 324.05 mph.
Erica Enders-Stevens, Pro Stock.
Also, Tony Schumacher expects the toughest competition from two drivers on his Don Schumacher Racing Team, Antron Brown, who won the 2012 Top Fuel World Championship, and Spencer Massey.

“It’s racing. It’s fun. It’s a good time.” Tony Schumacher said.

Five women qualified to race on Sunday in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock: Courtney Force, Brittany Force, Leah Pruett, Alexis DeJoria, and newlywed Erica Enders-Stevens.

Find out more about these professional race car drivers:
•    Leah Pruett, http://www.r2b2racing.com.
•    John, Courtney and Brittany Force, www.johnforceracing.com.
•    Alexis DeJoria, www.teamkalitta.com.
•    Erica Enders-Stevens, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ericaendersracing.
•    Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Spencer Massey, www.shoeracing.com.
•    Greg Anderson, Jason Line, www.summitracing.com go to the bottom of the page and click on Summit Motorsports Read News.

Take a few drivers’ names to the NHRA Website at www.nhra.com. Click on “points/stats,” look up these racers and find out how they compare with others in their class.

Then check out the NHRA 101, which defines special drag racing terms and explains types of races.Jason Line, Pro Stock.

Are you a go getter? Take your street car to your local race track and line up at the tree yourself a few times. The Mickey Thompson $7 Fun Night on Wednesdays starts May 1, 2013 and runs until September 25 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Beginners are welcome. It’s $7 to race or watch.

Many great people race in the NHRA and at local races all across the country. Start by getting acquainted with a few, visit them in the pits, collect autographs, and watch them work on their amazing machines.

By the time the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, part of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series swings around July 4-7, 2013 to Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, you’ll root for your favorites with gusto!

Race information and photographs are courtesy of the National Hot Rod Association.

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